Lawsuit: Texas Rangers’ misconduct deliberately ignored
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A former Texas Department of Public Safety investigator is suing the agency, accusing it of turning a blind eye to misconduct by the Texas Rangers — the state’s elite police force who the department oversees.
Darren Lubbe’s federal lawsuit spotlights several cases of wrongdoing involving Texas Rangers who broke rules or violated ethical standards, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The lawsuit alleges that rangers often avoided punishment or were quietly reprimanded.
Among the incidents cited were one ranger’s involvement in a fatal car crash and allegations that another made inappropriate comments to the Pflugerville Police Department’s female employees.
Lubbe sued the department over allegations he faced unfair discipline after his superiors questioned his religious devotion in 2014. Lubbe claims he received his first negative performance review and was “harassed into an early retirement” after he refused to attend an East Texas church with his boss, according to the lawsuit.
The retaliation occurred as the department overlooked rule-breaking Texas Rangers, the lawsuit claims. Lubbe retired in 2017.
One case cited in the lawsuit involves Texas Ranger David Armstrong, who was driving double the speed limit in his state-issued vehicle when he hit a pickup truck that had run a stop sign, according to a report on the 2017 crash. The truck’s passenger was ejected from the vehicle and later died of injuries.
Investigators found the truck’s driver was drunk but also noted the crash wouldn’t have happened if Armstrong had been driving the speed limit. Armstrong wasn’t suspended or demoted, and he didn’t face criminal charges, according to department records.
The lawsuit claims the incident demonstrates a double standard and evidence of a cover up by top public safety officials.
Armstrong’s attorney, Eric Perkins, denied that the Texas Rangers did anything to cover up the accident. The incident was thoroughly investigated, Perkins said.
The lawsuit also cited Brent Davis, who was quietly disciplined after beginning a sexual relationship with the widow of a murder victim, whose death he was investigating in 2016. Davis was found to have violated the agency’s ethics rules, according to an internal review. A top official said his conduct would support termination, but he was instead demoted.
Davis didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The department said it plans to dispute the lawsuit’s claims in court. The state hasn’t filed a response to Lubbe’s lawsuit yet.
Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com